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A friend was taking a cake to a party so he drove very carefully. He accelerated slowly, made gentle turns and approached stop signs well in advance. When people started honking and yelling at him he wanted to say, “Hey! I don’t usually drive like this but I have a cake in the back seat.” He thought they would be more patient and understanding if they knew.

Now when my friend sees drivers doing strange or annoying things, he tells himself there’s probably a reason — maybe they have a cake in the car or they are from out of town or they just got devastating news from the doctor.

When I heard this story I was reminded that we don’t always know what might be going on with someone in the next lane or the office down the hall. What would it be like if we commit to giving others the benefit of the doubt?

What do you do when that voice in your head is saying, “You aren’t good enough”?

If you try to ignore it does it just get louder and more persistent?

What You Resist Persists

Psychologist Carl Jung said, “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”  When my clients need to tame that mean little monster who wants them to fail, we focus first on understanding and accepting where the monster comes from.  Then we identify some possible responses to it.

A Mantra Gives You Power

A very powerful response is a short, positive mantra in the present tense that you can repeat whenever you hear the monster’s voice.  If the monster says, “You’ll look stupid in that meeting with your boss if you don’t have all the answers,” your mantra might be, “I know everything I need to know.”  That enables you to say with confidence, “I don’t know but I will find out.”

What might be different if you respond rather than resist that monster in your head?